The State Of Affairs
Are you ready for some totally happy fun times?
In that case, you’re going to be thoroughly disappointed. Because today I felt like the topic of discussion should revolve around the world’s current state of affairs. And the mercury flavoured ice cream shitsnack people love to tell us it is. Yes, you’ll notice metaphors are my strong suit. Also, be warned, these are the yellings of a mad man who’s steering away from the creative today. Sometimes you just got to look up from your book and talk about real things for while.
*Starts flailing about wildly*
Before we dive in though, I’ll pass along one helpful tip I’ve come to use before facing up to frighteningly adult conversations like this. Usually I just run in the opposite direction, or flop around on the floor like a drowning fish for a while, because that generally ends the conversation pretty quickly. Though when I can’t, I find lathering oneself in syrup is a great way to take off some of the stress when joining in adult-like talks. It usually puts others at just enough discomfort, confusion and unease that you’ve now got the upper hand.
Because you see, the thing is there’s no rational explanation as to why you or anyone would be covered in syrup.
This confuses people.
So you’re welcome.
Now that we’re all on the same page, and some of us may be a little sweeter than we were a few moments ago, shall we begin by summing up how we feel about the world today?
Here, I’ll go first.
*Turns to look out over ocean, downs whiskey, slowly removes clothing, wades into perpetual ocean forever*
Yeah, so, I think we’re all a bit tired of reading the stuff we find ourselves unable to stop reading. Truly painful stories somehow new and yet grossly regurgitated at the same time.
Much like… Twilight? (I don’t even know, just tell me when this joke has run it’s course.)
Many like to spout to anyone who’ll listen that the night is dark and full of terrors, and sure, but before the syrup dries and you’re stuck to that chair forever, or before my metaphors force you to question why I exist (because trust me, that goes nowhere), let me offer you a beam of sunlight so goldenly true it’s hard to believe.
But, on a more serious note, that you may have a duty to.
So read my digital lips my daft little friends: The world is safer now than it ever has been. In fact, you’re living in the safest period of human history. Period.
See a Tyrannosaurus Rex outside?
I thought as much.
The reality is that there’s less war, less crime and less violence than ever before.
Not something you’re used to hearing.
Even if you don’t consider the danger of the cold war 50 years past, and how truly close we came to just literally the end of everything, the world is safer now than it was even then. I’m by no means an expert, in fact I’m barely a person, but look at the facts, the statistics (not from me you sillies, but from the real fancy shmancy experts), and try to believe.
Because, like 2 agent friends of mine with a truly disappointing 10th season, I want to believe.
To believe in the opposite, which is quite frankly to believe in what’s not true, is dangerous for so many reasons. Though it’s everywhere, and why so many people are ‘tired’ of the world today. This fear thrived on by those who must not be named makes us vulnerable, and when we’re vulnerable, we make choices not out of rationality and debate, but out of a haste to stop that feeling of fear. And those are choices, we, the world, will feel and regret. Those are choices that will halt progress in it’s tracks, slap it silly, and send it back to a time when they thought being eaten by leeches was a smart thing to do.
And I think you know what I mean.
It’s almost unbelievable that in 2016 the majority of what we talk of is not about how we can expand our futures, but about wondering what kind of future there will be in the first place. Maybe I’m being dramatic, but there was a time not long ago when humankind rallied around reaching for the stars and was not scrambling to build walls to hide from ourselves with. Today, despite being truly safer than those who accomplished dreams in the 60’s, we worry ten times as much. And as we do, as we worry and live in fear and ask all the wrong questions, our opportunities and our futures pass us by. And for no factual reason. We want to build walls when we could be building schools or spaceships? It’s a silly reference, but I can’t help but feel like we’re all Galileo, trapped in a world where real progress is labeled useless.
Something else that comes to mind in this conversation is another topic recently taking up headlines. Nukes, though very far from a solved problem, are not the likelihood of imminent end like they once were. They are becoming more and more diplomatically and militaristically useless. Again, let me stress I’m no expert, but this is what the facts and the [pushes up glasses] real experts say. Not the boogymen hiding behind cameras that love to scream at us, saying that everyone and their grandma is packing. These are the cold hard facts. Research it.
You may find you owe it to your species to know this stuff.
Because I think we have an obligation to humankind that we need to better acknowledge.
And that’s simply the obligation to ensure we progress.
An obligation to be the best public we can be. Educated, informed, and able to bat away the fear some want us to gobble up for a rationality that reality and the facts support. Because that’s now what it is.
A battle of human rationality, of fear and fact.
To believe what’s easiest, or what’s right.
Fear will stunt progress.
Fear will see our resources drained and wasted in areas they need not be used at all. We all see this clear as day with each increasingly ridiculous headline we read. And it’s no surprise that fear sells. To anyone, really. Your 93 year old granny could tell you that big scary headlines love to exaggerate and focus on the bad because, among other purposes, the bad sells. And yet despite knowing this, we still scarf it down in unhealthy amounts. And thus people feel disproportionately unsafe.
The almost funny thing is that when compared to the last century, we have cause to celebrate.
That’s what gets me.
That for example people during the height of the cold war, despite a VERY rational fear, could look up at the moon and tell each other with pride: ‘we’re going to get there,’ and we, far safer than they, can’t even look each other in the eye any more. Half of us truly think money is better spent building nukes and walls. It seems the only thing we can get behind now is ‘self preservation’ when we don’t even need it. And that’s not progress.
It’s actually on my list of the 7 things I don’t understand.
- Why we love fear, why we stress the bad and ignore the good.
- And then probably numbers.
*Finishes the whiskey bottle that suddenly appears*
Well, as we reach the point where I’ll soon combust, let’s paint another narrative. A narrative for the perpetually drunk optimist in me. Probably more utopia than reality, but it’s fun for the storyteller to imagine right?
What if instead of investing the frankly disturbing amounts of money we do in stockpiling armies, designing technologies that could destroy this world a hundred times over, and campaigning against one another, we invested a simple fifth of all that into our space programs. Can you imagine what NASA or the CSA or the ESA or just the world in general could accomplish with that?
*Imagines winery on Mars*
I don't know, I just feel like it’s possible we’re nearing a point where we have to stop calling ourselves the ‘intelligent species.’ In 1966 NASA’s budget was 4.41% of the federal budget and the world stood behind it as both history and futures were made. Skip forward to 2014 and it was 0.5%, because tech capable of ending the world and everything in it was deemed more valuable.
NASA’s certainly not the only example here, and again, I’m far from someone who understands… well, anything really, but I can’t help but wonder at what we could do if we put our minds to it.
What could the world accomplish if we all stood together and decided we wanted something big? Wanted real progress?
We’d all probably have Martian cousins by now.
Anyway, these are just the ramblings of a semi-sober man at this point who feels the need to yell at strangers every once and a while. So my thanks to you folks for sitting there and taking it all in. You’re the real champions here.
But I think I’ll leave it all there. I think we’re back to creative posts after this one, but I just felt like sometimes you need to ignore the voices in your head and talk about something important. Sometimes you just have to get your thoughts out there and hope someone hears you.
I’d love to know your thoughts on the matter.
Thanks for reading.
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